5 Arrested After 14-Month-Long Probe Into Russian Embassy Cocaine Smuggling

By Ayushman Basu @ayushmanbasu |

An Argentine police official and a former Russian diplomat were among the five people arrested following a 14-month-long investigation, which started after hundreds of pounds of cocaine were found at the Russian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2016, authorities said Thursday.

According to a report by the New York Times, Patricia Bullrich, Argentina’s minister of security, reportedly said during a news conference Thursday, “We have dismantled an international cocaine trafficking organization operating between Argentina, Russia and Germany.”

Bullrich said that the 850 pounds of cocaine discovered at a school situated on the premises of the Russian Embassy in December 2016 led to a joint investigation by the Argentina border guards, the police authorities of Buenos Aires and the Russian Interior Ministry. The cocaine was valued at more than $60 million.

The report said that Viktor Koronelli, the Russian ambassador to Argentina, along with three other members of the Russia’s Federal Security Service informed Bullrich on Dec. 13, 2016 regarding 16 luggage pieces which they thought contained drugs.

Koronelli and Bullrich then gave the keys to enter the school premises to the Argentine border guards. Bullrich said the guards entered the school at 2 a.m. ART (12 a.m. EST) and they confirmed that there was cocaine inside the bags. After that they took the bag to another location and filled the bags with flour, which they had bought from a food store outside the capital city, at 3 a.m. ART (1 a.m. EST).

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